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As a new world is being built

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Global Perspectives

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As a new world is being built

Life and the spirit of hope

If life is viewed through the window of He Who Has Given Life, then hope is the dynamic of action that does not fade. It is nourishment for those who do not think continuously of themselves, but rather of others, for those who find true happiness in the happiness of others and for those who find a life in bettering the lives of others; it is also a source of energy which never diminishes for those who have devoted themselves to a blessed ideal of leading life at the level of the heart and soul, having freed themselves of the prisons of time, space, matter, physicality and self-interest. In that respect, at a time when all others are of the belief that "everything is over," a time when the great figure of a nation has been bent to breaking point, a time when resolve and will, adrift with tremors, storms and floods, die away, a time when those who have grown to depend on office, degree, wealth and prosperity and powers that are not derived from the true possessor of strength and power, and those who, due to not being able to find the truth, have bound their hearts to the stars, the Moon and the Sun, objects that fade from the sky, begin to face despair, the hope of the people of ideals, these people whom we have described in the beginning lines of this paragraph, takes on such an epic quality that in all circumstances they can challenge the universe. They continue on their way unshaken, even if their calculations and their plans should fail fifty thousand times, taking on an attitude of prosperity even in the face of poverty. They become life for dead souls and strength for those bent at the knees.

A certain person from the West said, "When all give up hope, even hope of defense, this is when the attack of the Turkish nation begins." The new, fresh shoots that emerged after the Mongol invasion and the division of Anatolia, the re-gathering of power and the increasing vitality after the defeat at Çubuklu Valley, Gallipoli and subsequently, the War of Independence, all of which were fought to the point of annihilation and which are epics without equal set down in history, all these give the impression that our nation's essential function in history is to write and re-write epics of regeneration, built upon the foundations of hope and faith.

Today in gratitude, I am trying to be patient in the face of serious medical problems; I am experiencing the homesickness caused by being far away from my homeland, a place that I love more than life itself; away from the water, the air, the rocks, the soil, the sky and the rosy-faced people-I miss them all terribly. This homesickness is reflected in my soul as if it were a bottomless well. I watch, anxiously, but at the same time hopefully, what is happening in my land-even though I may only see glimpses or only be able to see what is on the surface-a land that many now consider a place impossible to live in. I am trying to see what direction the latest attempts of America will take, and still, I am keeping my hope alive for the world and humanity, fresh as evergreen leaves and I keep on looking upon tomorrow with a smile.

Humanity is the source of everything

Humanity, with all of its attributes, is a creation that is difficult to understand. As with all the realms, the essence of all created things is present in humans, and in a way, with their characteristics, in one respect it is possible to understand existence by knowing humanity, while, in another respect, knowing humanity is possible by understanding existence. In truth, understanding humanity is the principle mission of humanity, since humanity is also the window that opens on understanding the Creator. For this reason, the first and foremost duty of human beings is to discover and know themselves and then to turn their gaze toward their Lord with the lens of their enlightened nature. It is an unfortunate fact that this is what most of us neglect to do. Indeed, how many people can we name who exercise self-criticism often enough? How many people can we name who every day rediscover themselves anew, a rediscovery of their weaknesses, their abilities, their absences, their sources of strength, along with the things that they have gained or lost; how many people can stroll through their own inner selves? How many people can we name who try to examine their own beings-not with a passing awe or a casual curiosity, and not by looking deep into faults and degrading themselves-but like a fair, professional and rational doctor, sitting themselves on a stool to be examined, desiring to investigate and to become acquainted with their true selves, trying to study themselves realistically in order to diagnose the disease? It is simply because this deed has not been performed that humanity cannot find the happiness it desperately seeks in this "lost paradise"; more precisely, humanity cannot find the lost paradise.

The patent right of a small minority

It is impossible not to appreciate the results of scientific research, the wonders of civilization, the products of technology. But have we succeeded in employing this science and technology-the product of all this effort and intellectual labor-and the speed and globalization that they bring, in the service of more exalted purposes? Do space, which is being compressed more and more each day, until it is no larger than a village, and time, which people are attempting to shrink to zero, serve a goal beyond themselves? Or do they, despite the greater majority, serve the worldly prosperity of a small minority who hold the "patent" of all these? Reaching the furthest corners of the universe, investigating every existing thing, becoming as familiar with the world as we are with our village or district, discovering information about even the most hidden aspects of things-if all this is placed above human needs and desires, if respect for human privacy and values is uprooted and let adrift, then the time has come to consider whether it is preferable to live in a world with all these modern products, or whether it is better to live without them, in a world of bygone ages when human beings were happier and when personal and social life and relationships were founded on human values.

Up until now, science, technology, and speed have never been the principle needs of humanity. But it would be incorrect to oppose science and technology with "idealistic" thoughts; such an opposition is only a form of utopia. No good for humanity can come from ranting at machinery or cursing the factories. The machines will continue to operate; the factory will continue to exude its fumes, even if we heap curses upon it. For this reason, it may be said that what is important here is not this or that technology, but rather who controls science and technology and what purpose they serve. Science and technology can turn the world into a hell in the hands of an irresponsible minority; if the same tools are in the hands of angels no one will suffer. Humanity has suffered most from those who see right as belonging to those who have power and insatiable ambition. Science and technology and the speed with which they allow us to perform are sacred and worthy of respect only in proportion with how much they direct humans toward humane goals, facilitate the accomplishment of these goals, bring about peace and happiness, extinguish longing and the pain of separation, deal with a multitude of ills before time runs out, serve the general harmony of the world, provide balance between states, participate in the resolution of worldly and spiritual problems and give momentum to research and establishing facts that will enhance our understanding. But when science and technology are distanced from the goals mentioned and when they become values in and of themselves, when it is expected that they will only serve themselves, or only the interests of a small minority, it is then that their absence is much better than their presence.

Technology and science in the service of humanity

I believe that both science and technology should be viewed from this very perspective. We have to ask in whose service science and technology are today. Do they serve the relationship between individuals, between the individual and society, between society and the state; do they serve mutual love, respect and support for one another in all good things, tolerance, the acceptance of everyone in their own context, truth, loyalty, a respect of rights, or do they serve mendacity, deceit, malicious conjecture, slander and an unnatural interest in other people's sins and faults, a violation of privacy and intrusion into the lives of others? Do they serve respect, from the heart, of the rights of all, something that should be protected, for example, the right to belief, life, personal possessions, reproduction, and mental and physical health? Do they serve good intentions, mutual understanding; do they serve in the relationships between states and nations, do they serve what is right, what is just? Do they encourage sharing, abstinence from exploitation, respect for basic human rights and freedoms or do they serve the sovereignty of capital and crude force? If science and technology emphasize the negative elements stated above, this then is a nightmare scenario for the future. Indeed, if the values which are universally valid today and upon which globalization is founded are the negative ones enumerated above, then the fact that at the present time half the world is living on two dollars a day, with a billion people surviving on even less, the fact that a quarter of the world does not have access to healthy drinking water, that the most terrible of diseases, like AIDS, have a tendency to spread rapidly and thus threaten humanity, the fact that health, which is the most vital need of humanity, has become an industry with very expensive services, the fact that global warming and pollution is rife, the fact that a major proportion of the world's population is living without any democratic rights, the fact that human rights violations have become the norm, that living conditions in many places of the world are abysmal, and that unpreventable acts of local and international terrorism reign will be the fearful reality for the whole of humanity.

A Muslim cannot be a terrorist

I should point out first that the religion that God has sent, whether it be called Judaism, Christianity or Islam, cannot be thought of as allowing terrorism, let alone prescribing it. First of all, in God's regard, life is of paramount importance. All existence has been programmed to give way to life. Life is the name of a divine mystery, which lets one thing retain all things. A thing with no life is an orphan, even though it may be as large as a mountain, and its relationship with what surrounds it is only limited to the place that it inhabits. On the other hand, something that has life, even though it may be as simple as a honeybee, can call the whole universe "my garden" and can look upon all flowers as friends. That bee has many connections and dealings with all different kinds of existence, from the Sun to the air, from the air to humans. Thus, life is the point of concentration for the names of the Excellent Just One, a focal point for the simultaneous manifestation of all these attributes. God, having given such importance to life, has deemed it to be one of the five essential values to be protected with the religion that He has sent. Islam has deemed the killing of any single individual to be equal to the killing of the whole of humanity, as one life represents the life of all; therefore, saving the life of a single individual is the same as saving the life of all. Moreover, as far as rights are concerned, it is said, "there are no minor or major rights"; i.e. it is seen that the right of the individual and the right of society are equal. One cannot be sacrificed for the other, to the extent that it has been decreed "if a ship is carrying nine murderers and one innocent soul, that ship cannot be sunk to punish the nine murderers."

Terror cannot be a means for an Islamic goal

Secondly, just as Islam prescribes that the goal has to be lawful in all acts of Muslim individuals, so too has it particularly emphasized that the means employed to attain that goal must also be lawful, reminding those who try to reach a lawful goal through unlawful means that they will in the end come face to face with the diametric opposite of that which they were aiming for. In this respect, we can say that terror cannot be a means to realize any Islamic goal. Moreover, Islam has never looked favorably upon war, although it is a reality and one of the most prominent elements in the history of humankind; Islam has bound war first and foremost to the condition of defense, and then, within the framework of the principle "inciting dissent is worse than murder," found in the Qur'an, it has deemed war lawful only to prevent war and disputes which lead to war, to prevent disorder, oppression and subjection. These are the conditions that Islam deems necessary for engaging in war; for the first time in human history Islam introduced serious limitations and principles concerning the matter. Orders like the following have gone down in history:

Do not let the fear of God go from your hearts. Do not forget that you can do nothing without the help of God, always remember that Islam is the religion of peace and love. The courage, the bravery of the God's Messenger and his keeping to the path that God has ordained should always be a model for you. Do not trespass cultivated land and orchards. Respect the priests and monks who live in temples and those who have given themselves to God; do not hurt them. Do not kill civilians, do not act in an untoward manner toward women, and do not injure the feelings of the defeated. Do not accept gifts from the local population. Do not attempt to house your soldiers in the houses of the locals. Do not neglect to perform your prayer five times a day. Fear God and do not forget that death can find you at any time, even thousands of miles away from the field of battle. So, be ready for death at all times.

These orders are the principles that heads of state have reminded their commanders of throughout Islamic history, and they have been followed to the letter. War, which can only be applied by a state and only perforce within the framework of certain principles, cannot be declared by individuals and organizations; moreover, it is clear that acts of terror which are without restraint, which target human values that must be protected and which destroy safety have no place in Islam. In that respect, just as a terrorist cannot be a genuine Muslim, a Muslim cannot be a terrorist. A Muslim cannot be a terrorist because Islam decrees the severest of worldly punishments on those who target people's lives and security; in the Hereafter those who deny God and who assign Him partners, along with those who kill people and deliberately take lives, are faced with eternal Hell. A person cannot possibly commit an act that is understood to have such a punishment whilst being a Muslim and displaying the characteristics of faith and Islam. Thus, it is not possible for a terrorist to be a true Muslim, just as it is impossible for a Muslim to be a terrorist.

The problems of Islamic societies

Moreover, if acts of terror continue to take place in this way, be it in Islamic societies or elsewhere, there must first be a sound diagnosis of the situation, and then whatever treatment the diagnosis calls for must be given. As far as this is concerned, the following can be listed as the principle reasons why certain individuals in the Islamic world become entangled or are made to become entangled in this web of terrorism and the reasons why terror is a serious problem in the world:

a) Islamic societies entered the twentieth century as a world of the oppressed, the wronged, and the colonized; the first half of the century was occupied with wars of liberation and independence, wars that were carried over from the nineteenth century. In all these wars, Islam assumed the role of an important factor uniting people and spurring them to action. As these wars were waged against what were seen as invaders, Islam, national independence, and liberation came to mean the same thing. Afterwards, when national states were established in these parts of the world, the states were not compatible with their public; whereas the states should have instructed the public in Islam with its true identity and nature, they acted in a way which disregarded the public, a way contrary to the values and traditions of the public. This made Islam a pillar, a refuge against the administration in the eyes of the public. Consequently, it is regrettable to say, Islam has come to be regarded as a traditional political ideology by many.

b) In many regions of Islamic geography, administrations that disregard and denigrate the public and which are oligarchic in nature, have worked for the well-being of the dynasties, the families of which they are members, rather than working for the prosperity of their country and trying to establish the unity of public and the state, and thus these administrations have been degraded to the position of mere oppressors and are deserving of loathing in the eyes of the public. The poor and uneducated masses in the public have become the enemies of their own administrations.

c) Both in Islamic societies and other nations, the roots of terror have always grown in poverty, ignorance and lack of education. In many places, feudal and tribal systems still continue and in these places, a great majority of the population regard the developed countries of the West, countries which at one time had invaded and occupied their country, as the protectors and supporters of the administrators ruling over them, and thus they hold these Western countries fully responsible for the wrongs and oppression that they suffer in their own country.

d) Values like democracy, basic human rights, the spread of knowledge and education across society, economic prosperity, equality in production, the institutionalization of consumption and income in a way that prevents class formation, the supremacy of law and justice, values which today are general accepted throughout the world, have never been fully realized in Islamic societies, nor in other regions designated as Third World countries. Doubtless, those who are primarily responsible for this situation are the administrators of these countries and their supporters-the developed Western countries that have helped them stay in power. Thus, even though these countries may assume the championship of the said values, as far as the people of the Third World are concerned, they have not been seen as being sincere and are seen as those who are exploiting these values.

e) Today's world has, as we have briefly touched on, shrunk to the size of a large village as a result of great developments in information transfer and travel. All people and countries are now neighbors. A few neighbors, a minority, are luxuriating in an ocean of abundance, whereas the greater majority is poor, extremely poor. Colonialism or exploitation, which is exercised very subtly and covertly, is considered to be one of the most significant reasons for this poverty, and moreover, the greater majority is destitute to such a degree that it is unable to meet its most basic needs. All of these factors have led to feelings of rancor, resentment, and enmity. Moreover, it is an unfortunate reality today that unlawful acts have become as much a norm as lawful acts. Corruption, deceit, the desire for easy money, selfishness, individualism, international gambling, and international smuggling (principally of drugs and arms) can be found in nearly every country in the world today. The mafia organizations that make such activities possible, and other similar organizations, like large holdings, trusts and cartels, are all in deadly competition, employing bloody murderers and thugs who represent crude physical force. The fact that these organizations feed and support such activities no doubt is another important and undeniable factor in terrorism taking on an international aspect.

f) Maybe more importantly than all of the above, the fact that religion, and the religious values, spirituality and ethics that are connected to religion have been eroded away throughout the world constitutes the most important source of both terrorism and other major social problems that threaten humanity today. The world is going through a spiritual crisis; all the essential supporting pillars of humanity have collapsed and have been destroyed. Philosophies of depression, Satanism, currents that are fundamentally materialist and naturalist, but which appear spiritual (a new one crops up every day), and so called cults all prepare the ground for violence and suicide. Indeed, these phenomena are like an epileptic attack, shaking our world, or the shivering of one with a high fever. To ask why people commit suicide, kill and use drugs when these people have lost their hope, when they see the past as a vast tomb and the future as a bottomless chasm, finding life meaningless can only be put down to blind ignorance, if not an artful pretension of ignorance.

g) The final word that needs to be said upon the matter is the following: the fact that there has been no definition or categorization of terrorism recognized by all nations, or at least set down by the United Nations to date is a serious problem. What acts should be considered within the term "terror acts" and what acts should not, who is a terrorist and who is not? Everybody seems to arrive at their own answers to these questions. One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter; one person's warrior for ideals can be considered as a terrorist by someone else. If there is to be a war against terror in the international arena-and there most definitely should be a serious campaign-it appears that there first has to be a definition of terrorism that is accepted at least by the United Nations. If this can be achieved, an international campaign against terror can gain a lawful status, a status that everyone will accept, a state of affairs where no one will be able to lay blame on anyone else, and maybe this will constitute a first step in the prevention of terrorism. It is hardly necessary to speak of the resolutions, after we have spoken of the essential problems and the issues that are mentioned as their causes: the diagnosis of the problem contains the resolution within itself.

The principle fabric of social life

The principle fabric of social life is founded upon religion, law, wisdom, and power. A person or society without religion will not be able to continue for long, just as they will not be of benefit to others. In truth, religion is an essential element that has been determined beyond ourselves and that has entered our lives, whether we accept it or not. Even though we may be the most perfect creatures, exalted with our free-will, there are still many indispensable elements that surround our lives and to which we are bound. For instance, where we are born, when we are born, and when and where we will leave this world are all planned and determined extraneous to us. Similarly, we have no say in the determination of our family-of our mother and father-of our race, color, or physical characteristics. Moreover, even our body works totally independent of our will; we cannot help getting hungry, thirsty, or sleepy. Also, the ways and means through which we fulfill these needs are independent of ourselves as well. In our simplest daily activities, such as eating and drinking, our only role is procuring the food and drink and making the decision to do so: in a way, we can say that our role in the act of fulfilling our needs amounts to no more than one percent. This means that whether we like it or not, our actions are limited by certain dominant conditions. Religion, too, is one of these forceful conditions. Whether or not we accept it, religion is one of the most essential elements in our lives, an element that cannot be replaced by any other thing. This is because it plays a vital role in the organization and regulation of our spiritual needs, needs which have a greater meaning and importance to us than material needs. Religion has an importance not only in and of itself, but also in the organization of our individual, domestic, and social life, as well as in our material life. Religion plays a crucial role in determining and enacting the laws that are the regulating principles in certain aspects of our lives. The final goal is not laws or their application; these gain value only to the degree in which they serve humanity and society. Thus, when setting down laws, one has to be well acquainted with humanity and with all its characteristics, taking its essential nature into consideration; one also has to know society, which is made up of people with awareness and will, the needs and means through which society satisfy these needs, and one also must know the sorts of relationships that exist between the individuals within society. Individuals are like the atoms of a whole, and therefore one must also be aware of the connections and bonds individuals have with the collective spirit of society. Thus, in being familiar with society and with the people of which it is composed, religion performs a special function, since both the Creator of Humanity and the One Who Preaches Religion is God. In that respect, the role of religion in understanding humans and society is so critical that it is impossible to estimate its importance.

The indispensability of religion in the order of society

Secondly, just as force has an undeniable role in law-enforcement, the importance of religion in this arena is also undeniably great. Religion is based upon a foundation of putting faith in the existence of a Being that sees humans, controls them, and knows not only all that they do, but also all that they think and all of their intentions and aims. And this faith is natural to humanity, and always lies dormant in the conscience of humanity, making itself felt at all times. Also, religion, because it may be possible to escape the law, government and enforcement on this Earth, yet it is impossible to be exempt from the boundaries of the divine scrutiny of God, teaches humans that they are responsible for all that they do in this world, and that they will be judged in another world concerning their deeds, and that according to the outcome of that judgment they will either be bestowed eternal happiness or punished. In truth, in educating humans to become poems of virtues rather than of evil, it is inconceivable that any otherworldly system could replace this belief system.

Thirdly, the ethical principles of religion in particular have a priority that is irreplaceable by any otherworldly thing in the cultivation of humanity. In fact, these ethical canons are the criteria that all people have accepted throughout time; this is an undeniable fact. These criteria defy both existence and time. Whether these evoke the necessary impact on people depends again on the state of religious belief and its application in society.

Religion in the western world today

Some people might be tempted to say that religion has no place in the life of society in developed countries such as America and those of Western Europe. We must immediately point out that such a statement is in no way correct and that these countries have and are attached to their religions. Just as we have expressed earlier, although religious values may have been weakened over the last two centuries throughout the world, humanity today is again searching for religion, and is once again inclining toward it. Even though the population may be indifferent to religion to a certain extent in Western Europe, those in the administration seem to be, on the whole, rather religious. Among these, there have always been religious people at the highest levels of administration, and there still are today. Moreover, though secularism is the rule in all these countries, there has never been a mentality dictating that the guidance of religion should be abandoned in social or even in the political life of a country. Western historians state that Christianity is the most important element in the formation of the modern social structure of Europe. According to these historians, Christianity has played a role that extends into the political and social arena and it has always played a decisive role in particular areas, with significant laws made concerning blasphemy, religious holidays and collective worship.

Also in countries like the USA and Canada, the majority of the population is attached to their religion, despite what might be said to the contrary, and religiosity is received with serious esteem both within the public and at various levels of the government. When we look at the current body of law in these countries, it is possible to see the influence of religion. For instance, in the USA, the penalties for crimes such as causing the death of a human being can at times exceed the amount of indemnity prescribed by Islam. Secondly, all nations have characteristics unto themselves, stemming from their own nature, history, and culture. Turks have been Muslim for centuries and it is impossible to severe them from Islam. At times when they have distanced themselves from Islam they have never found peace or progress; rather, on the contrary, this way has led to degeneration. This is due to the fact that Islam is unlike any other religion. A Jew does not have to believe in Jesus nor in the Bible, nor in Muhammad and the Qur'an. A Jew is considered faithful if they do not believe in those things. A Christian, similarly, is considered to be religious even though they do not believe in Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, or the Qur'an. This is because these religions do not accept the divine systems and books that have followed into their framework. Thus, religion can find a place within the vast spectrum of divine religions that stems from Judaism and Christianity. In this spectrum there is a book, a prophet with which it is connected and thus the system can never become completely corrupted; when someone has put it down, it may sour, like milk, but in the same way, this soured product can still serve a purpose. If we use another metaphor, religion can take refuge in one of the many rooms of a palace and be illuminated with the light found in that room. Islam, on the other hand, encompasses all religions. Believing in Muhammad and the Qur'an as the last and the essential, and thus believing in all the prophets and holy books is one of the pillars of Islam. In other words, Islam is inclusive, uniting everything. If we take up the palace metaphor again, Islam is the electrical system, the main generator for the whole building. If you abandon that system, the whole palace, the whole world will be plunged into darkness; there is no more light that illuminates. Those who abandon this light are the anarchists who deny all order.

In these last three centuries, centuries which have been years of subjection for Muslims, and even at the present time, when the face of Islam has been darkened by those who claim to be the most genuine members-at a time when Islam is presented as being dark by its enemies-the number of people turning to Islam continues to grow at a remarkable pace, while the number of people who estrange themselves from Islam is still very low. This may give some idea about what we have been discussing. Thus, those who want order in Turkey and in the world should conform to Islam and embrace it, not abandoning it to the mercy of those who misinterpret and misapply it. In the fabric of a healthy society, the law should give itself up to wisdom; that is to say, it should not go against the essential nature of humanity and the structure of nature, in short, the laws of creation. Law should take into account the character of the nation, and national-religious values; it should heed the warnings of logic and commonsense and it should be readily acceptable by the majority. Along with religion, history, traditions, and national values, the main principles of sociology, anthropology and even physics and chemistry are vitally important in the determination and institutionalization of laws. Law is not an independent science; it is a science that encompasses religion, history, philosophy, sociology, the sociology of history, psychology, anthropology, physics, chemistry, etc., and it has to be viewed in this light. Otherwise, the regulations made will be like a dress that does not fit; it will need frequent alterations. The material is of poor quality, the pattern is unflattering, it is of the wrong size. This outfit must be cut up and sewn again, taken in here, let out there-such a garment will bring about more harm than good to the composition of society.

Force cannot be an end in itself

Another great element in the fabric of society is force. Undoubtedly, there is a divine reason for the existence of force as well; just as without force it would be impossible to enforce the law, it would also be impossible to protect the safety of the country, especially vis-à-vis foreign powers. Also, force has its particular place in ensuring law and order domestically, and thus it must be respected. But force is not a value or an end in itself; it can and should not be the final objective. Force is worthy of respect only as long as it serves people's rights and justice; force that has gone out of control in the hands of a minority defeated by their own ambitions and selfishness will not revere rights or justice; it will authorize no law, no wisdom. The fact that rights should be sacrificed to force, that considerations of self-interest should rise to the surface above all other values, that bitter racism should replace universal values, that attempts to solve national and international problems should be made with crude force has always been a problem for humanity. In a situation where problems are attempted to be solved through crude force, it is impossible to speak of intellect, judgment, rights, justice, or law. On the contrary, in their stead are unlawfulness, injustice, and oppression. Even though force may be considered a potential power for the removal of problems-in the hands of the just and through the guidance of logic and judgment-it has always been an instrument of destruction in the hands of the cruelty that springs up in the axis of emotions. It is the wildness of force that acts with the supposition of an unlimited freedom that does not secure rights, justice, law, intellect, or judgment their due value. It is this fatal error that made Alexander dizzy and clouded his gaze; it is this that damaged the genius of Napoleon; it is this that transformed Hitler into the crazy man of the century. So, it would not be an exaggeration to say that unbridled force is behind the chain of chaos and the counter-currents that we are experiencing today. It appears that this chaos will continue until the day that those who represent force in the world submit themselves to justice, and the masses following these people be rid of the popular currents of everyday life and look at the world through the prism of justice.

The war policy of USA

The questions that we have tried to address up until this time in the framework of basic principles and general rules have been expressed clearly enough not to require individual explanations or deeper analysis. Still, if we have to say specific things about recent events, the following can be said: To reiterate a sociological truth-a truth which has been misconstrued by some-that I have expressed many times before: there has always been a power that kept the balance in the world and there always will be. This power was once Rome; then for a time it was Islam, first with the Arabs and then through the Muslim Turks, that assumed this function. Starting with the nineteenth century, the Anglo-Saxon world has taken hold of the position of balancing the world; first it was the British Empire that did this, followed by, after World War II, America. God states in the Holy Qur'an that He gives property to whomever He wishes, and also that He takes it away from whomever He wishes; He makes whomever He wishes respected or degraded; and similarly, He states that He circulates victories, defeats, sovereignty and subjection among the nations.

That is to say, time does not follow a straight course, but rather a circular orbit. Just as the Earth orbits around the Sun or the solar system gyrates toward a destination, so does time and history approach a relative end. All this is determined by God, true, but still the will of humanity, the performance that it makes with its will and its behavior can also have an effect, to a certain degree. Looking at what is happening in the universe we discover the executive acts of the One that has created and the One that administers existence, and we call these "laws." Just as some laws of God are manifested as religion, He also has laws that pertain to His executive acts in the life of humanity and the universe. Just as the fact of whether or not obeying religion or its decrees, which we may call the laws of religion, has results, rewards, and punishments which will be manifested partly in this world, but principally in the Hereafter, so too obeying or ignoring the laws of sciences like physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy have results, rewards, and punishment, most of which come forth in this world, and some in the Hereafter. For instance, among the laws concerning life on Earth are attaining a goal, in most cases, as a result of patient perseverance, or getting mired down in the road due to impatience. Wealth is the result of hard work, poverty the result of laziness; success is the result of systematic and methodical study and failure the result of non-systematic and unmethodical study. God treats people, societies, nations, and states in relation to whether they obey laws of this kind; and accordingly states and nations take their place vis-à-vis the balance of the world.

Today, the USA engages the dominant position in the political balance of the world. However, its dominance depends on whether it continues to act on the basis of human rights and justice. It appears that at the moment the machinery of the system works well in America. But just as each day embraces its night, and each spring and summer reaches winter, if this system leads to a blindness of system, if America starts to present disloyalty to values such as democracy, human rights, and the fundamental freedoms which it claims to champion, if it does not wield the domination that fate has placed in its hands on the principles of justice and the protection of human rights, then its day too will turn to night, its summer will turn into winter. Just as has been stated above, no system can live long if it is supported solely by force. Force that does not depend on rights and justice will inescapably diverge toward oppression and thus prepare its own end. Today, the world is being shaken by great problems which have been partly looked at above. In addition to this, countries, like China and India, which are in possession of ancient civilizations and large populations are today in a state of awakening. In Eastern Europe, Russia is another great power. Europe is on the path to becoming a unified state-though it is still uncertain how successful and long-lived this effort will be. Moreover, the countries of Asia and Africa, which see themselves as having been oppressed for centuries, possess a potential that must be taken into consideration. To install a system dependent on force in such a world and to procure such a system's longevity is not a simple task. I sincerely hope that America will not make a regrettable mistake that will undo the existing balance, unleashing events that would turn the world into rivers of blood.

Regimes of oppression: Not any longer

The fact that the world has, in some aspects, shrunk to the size of a village, due to rapidly growing communication technologies, presents a situation where regimes of oppression, like sovereignty thorough force, do not have much chance to continue unchecked. The human being is a noble creature; it cannot bear to be slave or servant for long. For their own good, it is vital for all states and for the people who operate the administrations to establish a governmental system that serves people and acts according to the principle of "the master is the one who is being served." Each individual person has innate honor, self-esteem, and character befitting to a human being. As long as the honor, self-esteem, and character that the Creator bestowed upon a person are not taken into consideration, it is impossible to instate peace and safety in any country or in the world. Believing, living in the way one believes, thinking in liberal ways, expressing what one thinks, and the freedom of communication and travel are all the basic rights of human beings. In a society that cannot procure and guarantee the most basic rights, like the right to life, security, health, employment and earning, and the establishment of a family, in a society where the sharing and consumption of production, and basic values that keep the society alive, like rights, justice, and balance, are not protected, in such a society virtues like love, mutual respect, and co-operation cannot be cultivated. It is impossible for any sovereignty to be long-lived in a world that is poor in these aspects. In fact, any administration or sovereignty that lacks these vital characteristics will always feel insecure and suffer profound uneasiness.

Even though the consideration of the world as a village becomes firmer and more prevalent over the course of time, different beliefs, races, customs, and traditions will continue to cohabit in this village. Each individual is like a unique realm unto themselves; therefore the desire for all humanity to be similar to one another is nothing more than wishing for the impossible. For this reason, the peace of this (global) village lies in respecting all these differences, considering these differences to be part of our nature and in ensuring that people appreciate these differences. Otherwise, it is unavoidable that the world will devour itself in a web of conflicts, disputes, fights, and the bloodiest of wars, thus preparing the way for its own end.

This section is taken from the supplement to the book prepared by Nevval Sevindi entitled New York Conversation with Fethullah Gülen and Global Tolerance, Timas Yayinlari, April, 2002.